St. Louis: Austin Dillon race report

Another top-10 for RCR's Austin Dillon MADISON, Illinois (July 17, 2010) -- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon brought Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to a...

Another top-10 for RCR's Austin Dillon

MADISON, Illinois (July 17, 2010) -- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon brought Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet to a seventh-place finish in the one-day-delayed Campingworld.com 200 at Gateway International Raceway.

By earning his sixth top-10 finish of the 2010 NCWTS season, Dillon maintained his seventh-place position in the series point standings. He is currently just 20 points behind Ron Hornaday, Jr. in sixth and 281 points shy of Todd Bodine's point lead.

High temperatures greeted NASCAR teams when they converged at the 1.25-mile Gateway International Raceway on Thursday, but the heat was no bother to Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team. They arrived at the Madison, Ill., facility geared with the same black No. 3 chassis Dillon drove to his career first series victory just one week prior.

The Danny Stockman-led crew made a mock qualifying run at the end of the first of two practice sessions on Friday, placing the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Silverado at the top of the charts. The team was eighth-quickest in final practice.

During qualifying on Friday afternoon, Dillon circled the 1.25-mile oval in 33.870 seconds at a speed of 132.861 mph, placing him sixth on the starting grid for Friday night's 160-lap/200-mile Campingworld.com 200. However, Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team had to wait until Saturday afternoon to race after a power outage just before the race's scheduled 9 p.m. Eastern start time forced track and series officials to postpone the race by one day.

On Saturday afternoon, an estimated 18,000 race fans withstood temperatures of 100-plus degrees to watch Dillon and the rest of the NCWTS competitors battle it out for 160 laps of racing.

As a Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, Dillon entered the Gateway race weekend with no prior experience at the Madison, Ill., facility, but quickly found his groove at the historic track. The 20-year-old High Point University student settled into sixth at the start of the race, shuffling between sixth and fourth for the first 50 laps before pitting on lap 51 for four Goodyear tires and fuel.

Restarting fifth on lap 57, Dillon maintained position until strategy came into play during a caution for debris on lap 74. Crew chief Danny Stockman made the call to bring the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet down pit road for fuel only. Many of the other trucks on the lead lap opted to take on four tires during this pit cycle, allowing Dillon to restart second on lap 78.

Dillon spent much of the next 15 laps battling for the race lead but soon fell back to seventh as trucks with newer tires made their way up through the field. During this time, the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet became very free in the center of the corners, and it was quickly determined that a fresh set of tires would help relieve the problem.

When the next caution was displayed on lap 125, Stockman immediately made the call to bring the black No. 3 back down pit road for four tires and fuel. After a flawless pit stop by the Bass Pro Shops team, Dillon restarted sixth with 31 laps remaining.

Thanks to the fuel-only pit stop on lap 74, RCR's Bass Pro Shops team had one remaining set of tires in the pit box and was ready for a late-race caution so that Dillon could take on fresh tires and drive through the field for the win. However, it was not to be as the remainder of the race ran under green-flag conditions and Dillon crossed the checkers in seventh position on lap 160, his sixth top-10 finish of the season.

Kevin Harvick earned his third NCWTS win of 2010 in a RCR-built chassis fielded by Kevin Harvick Inc. Brad Keselowski finished second, over Johnny Sauter, Todd Bodine and Matt Crafton.

The next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is the AAA Insurance 200 presented by J.D. Byrider at O'Reilly Raceway Park on Friday, July 23,

AUSTIN DILLON:

"It was definitely hot outside today. My guys did a great job on pit road -- the pit stops were better than they have been all year. We just made a little mistake on tire strategy. We had an extra set of tires than everybody else at the end. I thought if we had one more caution we were going to be fine but it just didn't go our way today. A seventh-place finish is great, especially coming off of our win at Iowa. We just want to keep getting top-10 finishes. Today was a good points day for us."

-source: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Matt Crafton , Brad Keselowski , Austin Dillon